Monthly Archives: September 2016

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

  • MSC Cruise Lines is facing a lawsuit as a result of an alleged sexual assault aboard one of its ships earlier this year.
  • The alleged perpetrator, an MSC employee, reportedly entered a stateroom with his service key and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl.
  • The suit seeks multiple damages, including compensatory damages.

A lawsuit was recently filed against MSC Cruise Lines as a result of an alleged sexual assault against a minor on one of its ships earlier this year.  

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, and alleges that on February 14, 2016 MSC employee Rudy Samuel Santos Hernandez sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl. The suit alleges that Hernandez followed the girl into an empty stateroom, using his service key to gain entry. He then allegedly sexually assaulted her. The girl was cruising with her grandfather at the time of the alleged assault.

The suit claims that the minor "suffered injuries to her body and extremities, pain and suffering, mental anguish, great shame, psychological trauma and scarring, humiliation, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, loss of the capacity for enjoyment of life and has incurred medical expenses and lost the benefit of her vacation."

The suit also claims that the cruise line failed to monitor the conduct of its crew and also failed to provide adequate protection for the victim, creating the conditions for her attack.

The plaintiff is seeking a trial by jury and is suing for multiple damages, including compensatory damages.

 

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  • A report on the 2015 death of a Canadian man on a so-called booze cruise has been released.
  • The report blames the ship’s crew for not following “man overboard” procedures in response to the victim’s falling from the ship.
  • One of the more disturbing findings was that the crew decided not to sound the alarm so as to not alert other passengers to what was happening.

The investigation into the death of a Canadian man who died on a cruise ship last summer is providing a glimpse into the often times inadequate response cruise lines demonstrate in emergency situations.

On June 13, 2015 a London, Ontario resident fell overboard from the Northern Spirit I, a small cruise ship. An investigation by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) concluded that the victim, Keith White, was intoxicated when he fell from the ship as it sailed just miles from Toronto. White boarded the ship in an intoxicated state, but cruise ship security screening failed to identify his inebriation.

He also reportedly acted in an erratic manner after boarding the ship, including “being loud and stumbling,” but he was not denied additional alcohol purchases while onboard.

After White fell overboard, according to the TSB report, the ship’s crew responded to the emergency in an uncoordinated manner, even failing to initiate the “man overboard” procedure. Crew members only learned of the incident by word of mouth, as the signal was not sounded so as to avoid alarming other passengers.

Given these findings, it is not surprising that the report indicts the crew for not having followed any of the “man overboard” drills, despite the fact that the procedures were visibly displayed on the ship.

White’s body was found 18 days after his disappearance. His family is suing Mariposa Cruises for wrongful death, and has called on the relevant authorities in Canada to exercise more oversight over so-called “booze cruises”.

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  • The Albatross cruise ship suffered from mechanical malfunction today.
  • The ship’s 800 passengers were left stranded at sea for a brief time while the ship called for a tow back to port.
  • Authorities have indicated that the Albatross must pass a survey and inspection before returning to service.

The summer cruise season has come to an end, capping what surely felt like one of the most active seasons for cruise ship accidents and malfunctions in some time.  But with the change in season the cruise industry has not seen a corresponding change in the fates of its vessels. The most recent cruise ship related issue occurred today when a ship in Europe was taken out of service, leaving hundreds of passengers in a bind.

According to the Maritime Herald newspaper the Albatross cruise ship was set to sail from Bremerhaven to Dover, but instead was sidelined with significant mechanical issues. Damage to the ship’s hydraulic system of the rudder gear caused the Albatross to modify its voyage after the ship suffered the problem and had to return to the Columbus Cruise Center.

The 583-foot Albatross was carrying about 800 passengers at the time of the incident. The ship reportedly suffered from the hydraulic failure but was repaired, only to suffer the same issue again less than an hour after leaving port. The crew then dropped anchor and called for assistance, finally returning back to port with the help of two Svitzer salvage tugs.

No passengers were hurt in the incident. Authorities are requiring that the ship pass a special survey and inspection before returning to service.

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  • If you have been seriously injured aboard a cruise ship, or during an excursion, you may be entitled to collect significant compensation.
  • You may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • In order to have the best chance at maximum recovery, you should work with an attorney who is experienced in recovering damages from cruise lines.

When a cruise ship passenger is injured aboard a ship, or on an excursion from a cruise vessel, he or she may sometimes require extensive medical treatment, and incur other significant hardships and costs as a result. One of the primary questions that victims of such accidents have is how they are going to afford to pay for all the expenses involved, and how to demand just compensation from the cruise line for its role in the accident.

Depending on the nature of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it, the cruise line with which an injured passenger was traveling may be responsible for all damages suffered by the victim, including medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, and other expenses. A qualified cruise litigation attorney is in the best position to evaluate the victim’s claim, and give him or her an estimate of the potential damages that the case is worth.

Like all big corporations, cruise lines do not always play fair in the courtroom. Their job is to protect their bottom line, meaning they fight to pay out as little as possible in the case of a law suit.

Cruise ship legal cases can involve various aspects of law including maritime law, personal injury law, and wrongful death law. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced cruise attorney, a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of cruise lines’ legal tactics and who has successfully sued cruise lines for damages.

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  • The Caribbean is one of the most popular vacation destination for Americans, but also contains significant risks.
  • Travelers are especially at risk of theft and robbery in many Caribbean locales.
  • For more information, check the U.S. State Department Advisory webpage when planning your trip.

What are the most dangerous ports of call in the Caribbean? For those who are looking to cruise to this most traveled destination, and especially those looking to take shore excursions, it could be beneficial to know which Caribbean islands are home to the highest levels of crime.

By reviewing recent U.S. State Department travel advisories and warnings, the most dangerous travel destinations in the Caribbean include:

  • Jamaica – The State Department says that violent crime is rampant in Jamaica, especially in Kingston and Montego Bay. Especially noteworthy is the fact that sexual assault is rampant on the island.
  • The Bahamas – According to the U.S. State Department the popular Bahamian cruise destination Nassau has been the site of a spike in robberies and sexual assaults lately. Some of these crimes even include armed attackers.
  • Dominican Republic – Visitors to the Dominican Republic risk being targeted for sexual assault and theft. It is recommended that you do no wear flashy jewelry, or anything of value while on the island.
  • St. Lucia – This Island is reportedly witnessing high levels of robberies, with cruise passengers being especially targeted. One frightening incident in 2013, in which no one was injured, saw 55 cruise travelers robbed while taking a shore excursion on the island.
  • Honduras – The State Department has issued a travel warning for Americans looking to travel to Honduras, citing the country’s high levels of robberies, assaults, and murder. It is noted that the country’s popular vacation destinations of Roatan and Bay Island see less crime, on average, than the mainland.

One of the best ways to keep up track of the latest information relating to the safety of your preferred cruise destinations is to check the U.S. State Department Advisories.

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  • A major melee recently broke out aboard a Carnival cruise ship.
  • Video of the brawl was of loaded to Youtube.
  • Apparently there have been at least two other Carnival cruise ship fights over the past couple of weeks.

As cruise ships struggle to find new ways to generate revenue many of them have begun offering so-called “all you can drink” alcohol packages. While such prepaid booze packages may make drinking far more affordable for those taking cruise vacations, it is well known that drinking an excess of alcohol can cause erratic and even violent behavior in people. One of the most striking examples occurs whenever there is a major cruise ship brawl.

A recent Video, posted on Youtube, shows what appears to be a major fight breaking out aboard a Carnival cruise ship, complete with thrown chairs and plenty of expletives. Though watching such scenes of violence and anarchy may prove to be entertainment for those who were not present for the melee, it is easy to imagine that someone could get seriously hurt in such a skirmish.

Apparently this fight was just one of at least three fights in just over two weeks’ time aboard Carnival cruise ships.

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  • The Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship suffered minor damage in a storm on Monday.
  • The ship was damaged off the coast of Greece during a 10-day itinerary.
  • No passengers were reported hurt in the incident.

Adding to a long list of recent cruise ship incidences, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship reportedly suffered damage in a storm earlier this week.

The Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship was subject to a strong winds off the coast of Greece on Monday, which caused relatively minor damage to the ship. According to Royal Caribbean’s director of global corporate communications, Cynthia Martinez, the ship "encountered sudden strong winds for a brief period of time," causing it to sustain “some minor damage to public areas”.

Some passengers took to social media in order to describe their ordeal. One man said that at about five in the morning the ship traveled through a low pressure storm system, causing it to rock violently. He reported that items flew across his room and his wardrobe door flung open during the disturbance. Later the ship’s captain went on the public address system to explain the situation to passengers.

The damage to the ship included damage to the Viking Crown Lodge, with 12 large windows being damaged, and several smaller windows were also damaged on the pool deck.

No passengers were reported injured.

Despite the disturbance the Rhapsody of the Seas continues along its original 10-day itinerary.

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  • A second cruise ship worker has died as a result of the July 20 Norwegian Breakaway lifeboat drill accident.
  • The Filipino man had been in intensive care at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.
  • The victim, Ben Buenaventura, is survived by his wife and young son.

The summer is proving to be extremely deadly for cruise ship crew members, with reports that the fourth crew member of the summer has passed away in a work related incident.

Earlier this summer we blogged about an incident in which a cruise ship crew member was killed in an accident during a lifeboat drill. The boat apparently became undone from its tether and fell dozens of feet into the water, killing a worker and injuring several others.  Now, a second crew member has died as a result of the incident.

Filipino crew member Ben Buenaventura, of the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship, has died of the injuries he suffered in the July 20 incident. He had been treated in the ICU at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Mr. Buenaventura, who is survived by a wife and a five-year-old son, is one of three Filipino men killed in lifeboat accidents this summer. Another Filipino man was killed in the same incident as Mr. Buenaventura, and just last week a Filipino engineer was killed in a lifeboat drill incident on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.

The incidences, which are just the latest in a series of recent cruise ship lifeboat drill accidents, raise serious questions about cruise lines’ abilities to both protect their own crew members, and to protect their passengers in the event that the lifeboats need to be deployed. It seems clear that the cruise companies need to invest far more time and resources into properly training crew members on how to operate the lifeboats, which are a key part of every cruise ship’s safety plan.

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  • In recent years over 200 people have gone missing from cruise ships.
  • Many of these incidences have occurred under mysterious circumstances.
  • In this blog we take a look at some steps you can take to avoid being a victim.

Over the past several months numerous cruise ship passengers have been reported missing, seemingly going overboard without explanation. In cases of cruise ship over boards and disappearances it is quite common for the cruise lines to claim that passengers intentionally jumped or threw themselves from the ships. Though these explanations are usually unsatisfactory, especially to the loved ones of the victims, it is often difficult to determine exactly what happened to passengers who disappeared from cruise ships.

Below we will take a look at some steps you can take in order to ensure that you and your loved ones do not become the next victims in this unfortunate series of tragedies.

  • Stay off of cruise ship railings - Though this advice may seem to be painfully obvious, there have been numerous cases in which people have climbed up onto cruise ship railings in order to show off for friends, get a better look at the view, and for other reasons which may not be fully known. But needless to say, when climbing up along railings you take a significant risk of falling overboard.  
  • Report any threats of violence to cruise ship officials immediately - A number of cruise ship over boards and disappearances occur under mysterious circumstances. It is not uncommon for witnesses to describe arguments or confrontations, and even mysterious bloodstains in conjunction with passengers who go missing. If you are ever threatened by another passenger, or even your loved one, it may be a good idea to report such incidences to cruise ship personnel.
  • Avoid drinking too much – A number of cruise ship over boards and disappearances have been connected, at least nominally, to alcohol consumption. Cruise ships offer passengers alcohol at nearly every turn and it can be hard to say no. However, it is best to drink in moderation aboard cruise ships, and to know your limits. Not only will this help you enjoy your cruise more, but it may help you stay out of dangerous situations while aboard the vessels.
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  • A 67-year-old woman has been reported missing from the Sapphire Princess cruise ship.
  • She went missing in the area of Shanghai, China as the ship traveled to Japan.
  • The ship’s crew reportedly searched for the woman, but later indicated that they were unable to locate her.

According to ShanghaiDaily.com a woman went overboard from a cruise ship in the area of Shanghai this week, and is considered to have been lost at sea.

The 67-year-old victim reportedly leapt from the Sapphire Princess cruise ship at about 10:28 PM Monday, as the vessel traveled from Shanghai to Japan. The crew of the ship was reportedly alerted to the woman’s disappearance and subsequently circled the area looking for her. But, when the crew determined that they would be unable to find her the ship continued on its scheduled itinerary.

This marks the second time in the past month that a woman tourist has gone missing from a cruise ship in the area. Last month a woman went missing from the Mariner of the Seas cruise ship and was found 38 hours later floating in the sea by fishing vessel. But others who have subsequently gone missing from cruise ships have not been so fortunate.

Last week a woman was reported missing from The Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship, and despite the Coast Guard’s searching for her for over 24 hours, she was never found. Then, just days later a woman was reported missing from a cruise ship in Alaska. She too was lost ultimately ruled lost at sea.

 

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